Reviews

2011 BMW 535i – Four Seasons Update – June 2010

Long-Term 2011 BMW 5-Series Update: Spring 2010 Array Miles to date: 0

Months in fleet: One
Miles to date: 4265

The sixth-generation of BMW’s venerable 5-series is here, and there’s more going on than meets the eye. Yes, the styling is all new-and certainly improved-the sheetmetal stretched over a 3.2-inch longer wheelbase. Under the skin, there’s been a switch from a damper-strut front suspension to double wishbones, the power steering assist is electric rather than hydraulic, and the 5 uses four-wheel steering for the first time. So we’ll have lots to think about as we pilot our new 535i during the next twelve months.

Powering the 535i is a turbocharged inline six, which trades the previous version’s two turbochargers for a single, twin-scroll unit. Output, at 300 hp and 300 lb-ft of torque, is the same, although fuel economy is said to improve. The 535i is the middle child in the new 5-series lineup, sitting above the 528i (240-hp 3.0-liter six, $45,425 starting price), and below the 550i (400-hp 4.4-liter twin-turbo V-8, $60,575 starting price). The 535i and the 550i offer the option of a six-speed manual (in place of the eight-speed automatic).

Our car came very well equipped with the Dynamic Handling Package (adaptive dampers, active roll stabilization, and adaptive drive); Sport Package (19-inch wheels, multi-contour seats, special trim, and the all-important 150-mph speed limiter); Driver Assistance Package (lane departure warning, blind spot warning, park assist, and automatic high beams); Convenience Package (keyless ignition and soft-close doors); Premium Package (leather, and some minor items); and navigation, among other things. The long list pushes the base price of $50,475 to $65,425-well into 550i territory. For all that, we didn’t get heated seats or satellite radio, which we might miss as time goes on.

In fact, there was quite a bit more we could have added-night vision, active steering, active cruise control, rear-seat DVD, active seats. 5-series buyers like to lard their cars with options, which helps make BMW’s second most popular model (after the 3-series) the source of 50 percent of the company’s profits. So the 5-series is a very important car for BMW.

We dispatched copy editor Rusty Blackwell to a BMW launch event in New Jersey to pick up our 535i. He reports:

“I took delivery of our 4S 535i at New Jersey Motorsports Park, at the conclusion of a BMW media event. After filling the tank, I set off on the 638-mile journey to my house. About ten-and-a-half hours later, I arrived home in Michigan, where the 5-series’ trip computer reported that I’d averaged 29.9 mpg and 69.3 mph. Not too shabby, although my calculated average mileage (after my next morning’s 24-mile commute) was 28.9 mpg. Either way, that’s pretty good for a mid-size luxury car, especially since we primarily cruised at 8 to 14 mph over the speed limit and had to combat some heavy rain around Pittsburgh.

“I’m really glad that our long-termer has navigation, but I longed for satellite radio. Fortunately, the iPod integration is impeccable and you can easily surf through your tunes via the iDrive controller. I was also quite happy that our car came without BMW’s annoying active cruise control, which lacks the ability to operate in old-fashioned, standard-cruise-control mode.

“Despite some wind noise on the highway and a blind-spot-detection system that showed a fail message on one occasion, our new blue 5-series offered smooth sailing as I set my personal best for miles driven in a single day. I’m already eyeing our 535i for future road trips.”

2011 BMW 535i

Base price (with destination): $50,475
Price as tested: $65,425

Standard Equipment:
3.0-liter single-turbocharged DOHC inline 6-cylinder
8-speed automatic transmission
4-wheel disc brakes with ABS and DBC
Dynamic stability control and traction control
Xenon adaptive headlights with auto-leveling and corner lights
Rain-sensing wipers
10-way power adjustable driver’s and front seat with memory
AM/FM stereo with CD/MP3 player audio system and HD radio
2-way power moonroof
Dual-zone automatic climate control
Power tilt/telescoping steering wheel
Automatic headlight control
Leather-wrapped multi-function steering wheel
iDrive system with on-board computer
Vehicle monitor system
Cruise control
Adaptive brake lights

Options on this vehicle:
Dynamic handling package — $2700
Electronic Damping Control
Active Roll Stabilization
Adaptive Drive
Sport package — $2200
19-inch alloy wheels with performance tires
Sports leather steering wheel
Mulit-contour seats
Increased top-speed limiter
Shadowline exterior trim
Navigation system — $1900
Premium package — $1800
Auto-dimming mirrors
Ambiance lighting
Garage door opener
Dakota leather
Driver assist package — $1750
Automatic high beams
Lane departure warning
Active blind spot detection
Parking assist
Convenience package — $1700
Comfort access keyless entry
Soft-close automatic doors
Side and top view cameras — $800
Park distance control — $750
Deep Sea Blue metallic paint — $550
Rearview camera — $400
iPod and USB adapter — $400

Key options not on vehicle:
Active ventilated seat package — $2950
Cold weather package — $1050
Premium package 2 — $4900
Premium package plus:
Heated front seats
Power rear sunshade
Satellite radio
Night vision with pedestrian detection — $2600
Active cruise control — $2400
Rear-seat entertainment — $2200
Active steering — $1750
Head-up display — $1300
Satellite radio — $350

Powertrain
Engine: 3.0-liter turbocharged direct-injected DOHC inline 6-cylinder
Horsepower: 300 @ 5800 rpm
Torque: 300 lb-ft @ 1200-5800 rpm

Fuel economy: city/hwy/combined
20 / 29 / 23

Drive: Rear-wheel

Transmission:
8-speed STEPTRONIC automatic

Unladen weight: 4090 lbs.

Wheels/tires: 19-inch V-spoke alloy wheels
245/40R19 94Y front; 275/35R19 96Y rear; Goodyear Excellence performance run-flat tires

Competitors: Mercedes-Benz E-Class, Jaguar XF, Infiniti M37, Hyundai Genesis sedan, Cadillac CTS

Comments

We’ve Temporarily Removed Comments

As part of our ongoing efforts to make AutomobileMag.com better, faster, and easier for you to use, we’ve temporarily removed comments as well as the ability to comment. We’re testing and reviewing options to possibly bring comments back. As always, thanks for reading AutomobileMag.com.